Category Archives: CD

The Ambient Series: Steve Roach’s Spiral Revelation Up For Grammy Award

Sometimes, the music you love, even the most obscure, are classics that get recognized for their brilliance. Back in January of 2017, I posted a review of an album – something I rarely do these days. The artist is Steve Roach, an ambient magician of note that has created 125 albums thus far! The album, Spiral Revelation, has just been announced for a Grammy Award nomination. Stunning!

Spiral Revelation is nominated for Best New Age Album alongside of Reflection (Brian Eno), Songversation: Medicine (India Arie), Dancing On Water (Peter Kater), and Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai (Kitaro). Not only is this heady company and competition, it also speaks to the fact that Steve Roach is a world-class talent, something that is not lost on MusicTAP readers and fans of ambien music worldwide.

MusicTAP wishes Steve Roach (and by association, Projekt Records, and Spotted Peccary, both which released Spiral Revelation) all the best in this magnificent honor.

You can read my 2017 review of Spiral Revelation here.

For The Holidays: Projekt’s CDs of Holiday Music Are Ethereal Delights

As Christmas begins to round the corner, it’s likely that some of you have already begun to spin holiday music choices. I know I have. And like many of you, I have favorites. Several of my all-time favorites are actually from the same label.

Between 1995 and 2001, Projekt Records released three richly curated Holiday sets, all known as Excelsis. The three volumes were sub-headed to distinguish themselves. Between the three sets are 38 songs, none of which can be properly classified. Many of the tracks found on these three volumes are re-imagined traditional classics, and some are  new compositions.

All the contributing artists are from the Dark Wave genre, moved along with great supportive effort from the Projekt label owner, Sam Rosenthal. And while the music is gothic in nature (as were many of the original old traditionals), they are surprisingly beautiful and completely memorable.

Volume One is sub-titled A Dark Noel. But do not be deterred by the title (if it would threaten to deter you), the music transcends all expectations of sound. On the first volume (issued in 1995), you’ll be treated to a stunning version of “Welcome Christmas” by Love Spirals Downward, which features the beautiful vocals of Suzanne Perry , This Ascension’s haunting “Carol Of The Bells”, the unmatched sounds of Lycia, with their unique rendition of “We Three Kings”,  Area’s incredible version of “O Come Emmanuel”, and a fantastic bar period piece by Faith and the Muse of “A Winter Wassail”.

Volume Two, sub-headed as A Winter’s Song, is filled with equally captivating music. Of the album’s fifteen tracks, my favorite stand-out is “In The Bleak Midwinter”. But the album is generously populated with other songs like Julia Kent’s string instrumental of “What Child Is This?”, Lycia’s “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, The Crüxshadows’ version of the Lennon classic, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, and Thanatos’ version of “Silent Night”.

Volume Three – a prelude – was a response to the popularity of the previous two releases, but only issued as a nine-track Maxi-CD. Nevertheless, it beautifully caps off a rare and memorable trilogy of sets that you may not have heard the contents of. It displays Lynn Canfield’s lovely “Edelweiss”, “Aspen Glow” by Lovespirals, Frolic’s enchanting “Angels We Have Heard On High”, and an alternate version of “Silver and Gold” (first heard on the second volume) by  Faith & Disease.

Of the three CDs, the first one is completely sold out in physical form. However, it can still be purchased digitally here in a ‘name your price’ offering (here). The others are still available (here, and here).

Please understand that you WILL be surprised by what you hear. I highly recommend all three volumes!

 

Review: Witchy Feelin’ – Savoy Brown

Savoy Brown have always been an underrated band. Of course, they have a fan base but in the big scheme of things, they were under appreciated. And for the life of me, it’s something I don’t understand. Regardless, from their origin dates (somewhere in the ’60s) to this advanced Millennial date, Kim Simmonds, who is the mainstay of the band since the beginning, have produced almost thirty long players for the band. And many of them are stupendous.

In late August, Kim Simmonds, along with Pat DeSalvo (Bass), and Garnet Grimm (Drums), released Witchy Feelin’. With eleven original tracks, that album is as solid any almost anything the band has released including some of their very early albums.

Kim Simmonds is a master guitarist with an ability to play blues like few others. I can drone on and on about that but the new Savoy Brown album is better equipped to prove that and to display that in the eleven songs on it. I can tell you about the incredible slide guitar on “Standing In A Doorway”, or the era-conscious tunes of “Why Did You Hoodoo Me”, “Livin’ On The Bayou”, and “Guitar Slinger”. But overall, the songs on Witchy Feelin’ are a triumph of great Savoy Brown music.

You can trust me on this one, folks. If you EVER liked blues/rock or the music of Savoy Brown, you will not be disappointed in any of this album. When you have legacy bands trying to remain musically relevant to the times we’re in (and failing terribly), it’s refreshing to see that Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown have never lost a step.

 

Review: Acoustic In Concert – Simple Minds

There certainly aren’t many artists daring enough to re-record their songs in an acoustic format. But that’s not true of Simple Minds, whom, late in 2016, released an album of much-loved classics in a stunning reintroduction. Oh yeah, here were those who recorded live sets unplugged. But not many of them actually going into a studio to do it. With Acoustic, Kerr and Burchill has easily produced a new and enduring classic with reimagined classic Simple Minds tunes. Songs like “Promised You A Miracle” (recorded with KT Tunstall), “See The Lights”, “Someone, Somewhere In Summertime”, “Alive and Kicking”, “Waterfront”, and of course, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, are delightful to listen to and carry a high caliber of replay value. I know. Today, some nine months after release, it’s a regular in rotation.

Eagle Rock Music released a BBC Music live set from Simple Minds’ show in London at the Hackney Empire. The show was a response to the popularity of the Acoustic album, and was warmly attended by fans. The set, Acoustic In Concert, is a combo CD/DVD and a BD set that can be viewed and, with the DVD set, equally enjoyed on the run. What’s as surprising about the Acoustic In Concert set is how vibrant the show was. Kerr and Burchill may be older now, but their age has no impact on their ability to parade their famous songs in great glory. It’s evident that they’re proud of those songs.

Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill have employed Cherisse Osei as their drummer and percussionist. Her performance is lively adding to the currency value of the show itself. The band is rounded out by current member, Ged Grimes, and vocalist Sarah Brown. Simple Minds are as valid a band long after their sales peak as can be enjoyed. Their previous album, Big Music, was released in 2014, and was filled with excellence. I’ll say this, it was easy to remain a Simple Minds fan long after the retreat of Once Upon A Time from 1985.

Not only have I enjoyed listening to Acoustic for these many months, I have enjoyed watching this amazing band on In Concert. There’s little doubt that I will regularly revisit the DVD just like I do with a few other great concert DVDs. I won’t compare it to others because each band brings their own presence to the stage. But suffice it to say, listening to the mates perform classics like “Sanctify Yourself”, “Promised You A Miracle”, “New Gold Dreams”, and “Chelsea Girl”, is a heart-warming experience. There’s even a good cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot” within. The DVD’s video quality is quite amazing. I could only imagine the beauty of a BD.

If the band decided to do an Acoustic, Volume II, I’d be first in line for it. As for their Acoustic show, I’d definitely attend. Acoustic In Concert is an able convincing media for that resolution.

Acoustic In Concert – Simple Minds

01 New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
02 See The Lights
03 Glittering Prize
04 Stand By Love
05 Waterfront
06 Andy Warhol
07 Chelsea Girl
08 Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
09 Dancing Barefoot
10 Speed Your Love To Me
11 Promised You A Miracle
12 Don t You (Forget About Me)
13 Sanctify Yourself
14 Long Black Train
15 Alive And Kicking
16 Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)

 

Review: Buckingham/McVie – Lindsey Buckingham . Christine McVie

From the goofy, Animal House silliness that weaves in and out of the pop perfection of “Feel About You”, to the way that the opening number, “Sleeping Around the Corner” makes you smile when the band suddenly kicks in after a tortured vocal on the intro, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie is almost everything that you could possibly want from a Fleetwood Mac album.

Which of course, it really isn’t. For a variety of reasons and speculation that you can find everywhere, Stevie Nicks sat this one out. Thankfully, in an odd parallel to her own beginnings, we get to stand back and discover her bandmates, Buckingham and McVie as a duo.

With Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass, it is inevitable that the album draws as close Tusk, Mirage and Tango as it does. But in a way that could only make sense in the Fleetwood Mac Universe, this is a near-perfect collaboration between two friends who happen to know the bass player and drummer from Fleetwood Mac. On paper this may look like solo albums joined at the hip, but it isn’t.

Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie plays out across 39 minutes with a clarity, a sense of openness, joy and exploration that the Mac’s last two releases 2013 Extended Play and 2003’s Say You Will never really were able to reach.

Freed of the weight and responsibility of the big machine (as Lindsey likes to describe Fleetwood Mac when he is doing his solo work), the album sounds like the people who made this were having fun. And lots of it.

It’s not perfect. As a recording led by two writers that the world loves to hear sing, it could use a bit more of the duo’s harmonies on a few of the tracks. But like the Rolling Stones recent success with Blue and Lonesome, the album is a surprisingly full work by a veteran artist that makes you want to come back.

Each of those two albums reminds you why you loved the bands in the first place. The albums are not only reaffirmation of why Lindsey and Christine or Mick and Keith, started making records so long ago, it is a demonstration of how far they have grown over the years. Each release is proof of just how good they have all become.

Like Blue and Lonesome, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie entertains the hell out of you, but it challenges you as well. The chorus to “In My World” may be catchy as all get out, but the song features a dream of wistfulness and understanding that the man in his twenties who joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 would have never thought of.

Red Sun lives in the same neighborhood as “Hold Me” does. But it lacks the shimmer and shine that wrapped the classic from Mirage in radio-perfect sunshine and warm sand dunes. And it is all the better for it. The song, a co-write between Buckingham and McVie, slips along on the strength of what was left out of its production.

Which is one of the unspoken strengths of this release, what was left out of each song. Go back and grab Say You Will. Listen to “Murrow’s Turning Over in His Grave”, “Illuminati” or any number of cuts from that release. Those were some packed, packed songs. The songs on Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie are filled with air, unburdened by excessive production. Each writer seems fueled by the absence of pressures created by operating under the banner of The Big Machine.

Still, while the front line of Fleetwood Mac may occasionally shift focus, but essence of Fleetwood Mac is always in the snap of Mick Fleetwood’s wrist on a snare and John McVie’s quiet ability to lay back and never force a single note. Their incredible consistency anchors the songwriting, despite the varied origins of each tune. Lindsey and Christine share credit on three songs while Buckingham has five as a solo write and McVie has two herself. The album is a cohesive whole that plays through from start to finish as well as their first collaboration back in 1975 ever did.

Oddly enough, the absence of Stevie has unintentionally summoned a ghost that has long walked the hallways of a Fleetwood Mac graveyard. Bob Welch held the center spot between Peter Green/Blues Mac and the arrival of the cast who created The Big Machine.

It may be hearing Christine’s voice without the expectations of Stevie popping in. Or it may be the way that Buckingham and co-producers Mitchell Froom and Mark Needham have left out any kitchen sink they thought of adding to this excursion. There is something inexplicable about this album brings it closer in spirit to what might have followed Heroes Are Hard to Find than it really does Rumours.

“Game of Pretend” is not that away far from the quiet of Bare Trees. The paranoia that opens “Carnival Begin” isn’t that far away from a UFO sighting or being hypnotized. Especially when mixed with a slow build that recalls “I’m So Afraid”.

The sequencing on this album is near perfect. Any other duo (group), would have ended with “On With the Show” by capitalizing on the song’s declaration of independence and maturity with an explosion of Buckingham guitar strangulations on a seven minute fade.
As with so much of this album, in the end, taste and restraint rule. Instead of histrionics at the end of “On With the Show”, there is a hint of the little skipping guitar line that Lindsey plays at the end of “Gypsy” overtop of a fade that leaves you smiling. Hell, the guitar line might even be an in joke, a little tweek. With the mythology of Fleetwood Mac, you never know.

You want the quick version?

Every album ever made by Fleetwood Mac went to a restaurant and started to get drunk while waiting for dinner to be served.
Eventually The Blues Albums huddled in a corner and argued over how John Mayall will be viewed in the history of the world. The Bob Welch-era Albums cornered a Warner Brothers executive and badgered them all night to remaster that era’s albums. And more than anything, to permanently destroy the cover art to Mystery To Me.

While everyone else was talking the albums Tusk and Mirage left together quietly in the same Uber pick-up! Boy were their spouses uncomfortable! The rest of us are just fine with the results.

–Mark Squirek

 

Review: Uriah Heep 2CD Reissues (Look At Yourself/Demons and Wizards/The Magician’s Birthday)

If you were into Hard Rock in the ’70s, then you fell in somewhere with Uriah Heep. Whether that was with the popular track, “Easy Livin'”, or the later issued “Stealin'”, you likely enjoyed listening to them more than once. Uriah Heep is a UK band with their beginnings rooted in 1969, and who eventually owned the stage and airwaves with their progressive-styled music. They first issued Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble back in 1970. Following with Salisbury less than a year later, the band was as creative as could be expected. And creativity was a strong point. Pushed by an ambitious manager, they continued to create at the highest level producing the classics that followed on the heels of the first two. Those were Look At Yourself (1971), Demons and Wizards (1972), and literally six months later The Magician’s Birthday (1972).

With Demons And Wizards, they began to gain greater notice as “Easy Livin'” soared onto Top 40 radio charts worldwide. Of course, the band had already been gaining momentum with previously released singles but those were primarily FM classics (“July Morning” from Look At Yourself, for example). But it was “Easy Livin'” that captured the attention of the widest audience. Uriah Heep would drift back into FM territory with The Magician’s Birthday songs, but return to Top 40 with “Stealin'” from their ‘nine month later’ album, Sweet Freedom (1973). The story goes on further from there.

On March 31, BMG Music reissued Look At Yourself, Demons And Wizards, and The Magician’s Birthday as newly remastered 2CD sets including essential alternate takes of each album that create elaborate and definitive sets for any Uriah Heep collector.

Look At Yourself includes eleven bonus “Alternative” tracks. They include an extended alternate track (“Tears In My Eyes”), a live alternate track (“July Morning”), and a single edit of “Look At Yourself”. The remaining tracks are alternate mixes with two of them outtakes (“Why Fourteen Minutes”, “What’s Within My Heart”). These tracks are previously unreleased.

Demons And Wizards delivers a treasure of fourteen bonus “Alternative tracks. They provide alternate mixes of the entire album as well as four outtake tracks (“Home Again To You”, two versions of “Why”(one a single edit), “Proud Words” (chosen and re-recorded by Hensley for his solo effort, Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf – 1973), and “Green Eye”). These tracks are previously unreleased.

The Magician’s Birthday – my personal favorite – contains fifteen “Alternative” songs. The original album is represented completely by eight alternate mixes, along with outtakes that include “Crystal Ball” (two versions, one titled as “Gary’s Song”)”Silver White Man” (two editions, one instrumental), “Happy Birthday”, a single edit of “Sunrise”, a single edit of “Sweet Lorraine”.

   

The remastered tracks make the music even more a joy to listen to. And with the bonus racks, it’s nice to hear the ideas that were played around with in the studio. I love the fact that the band were meticulous with their music. Within the studio. they largely knew what they wanted to end up with. There are several lineups of Uriah Heep, all quite good within their sphere. But the high point version of Uriah Heep had David Byron at the front, Gary Thain at bass with his partner in crime, Lee Kerslake on drums, Ken Hensley with his keyboard magic, and the unmatched guitars of Mick Box.

All three of these reissues are tri-fold housing for the two CDs and wallet housed 20-page booklets. Each booklet are richly designed with informative essays, interviews with original members, Ken Hensley and Mick Box. The booklets contain photos, memorabilia (with singles covers), lyrics, and full credits! Complemented by the earlier released ‘best of’, Your Turn to Remember, these three albums join the first two to make your collection of Uriah Heep classics as memorable as they may ever be able to attain to outside of these new reissues.

Now, we wait for the work and announcements for Sweet Freedom, Wonderworld (1974), and perhaps even Uriah Heep Live (1973). You can bet I’ll let you know! These reissues are the ones that worked hardest at making my year complete, no matter what else comes out!

 

Review: The Night Siren – Steve Hackett

Most will recognize Steve Hackett as one who helped Genesis create six classic studio sets from Nursery Crymes (1971) through Wind & Wuthering (1976). That short lifetime with Genesis gave Genesis and Hackett a lot of structure. After his departure, Genesis changed their style of music beginning with their post-Hackett venture, … And Then There Were Three… (1978). Steve Hackett went on to produce more than 20 studio sets as well as partner for a successful GTR collaboration with Steve Howe, and a very interesting outing with Chris Squire in a band called Squakett. There were others.

Throughout Steve Hackett’s recorded career, he has produced enduring classic recordings that have been remastered and expanded over time. His place in the world of Rock and Roll is an essential one. With elaborate skill on the guitar, Steve Hackett is a classic delight for prog fans everywhere.

With the release of his latest studio set, The Night Siren, fans like myself can only be excited. The new album brings eleven new tracks, all of which are well expressed songs with plenty of Hackett guitar wizardry on display. The songs are showcase his unusually strong talent of songwriting.  As “In the Skeleton Gallery” will reveal (see video below), Steve Hackett has lost nothing in his interpretation of today’s culture. He creates music that is uniquely him (and well-loved by fans), and still is able to address the problems of today’s word within his lyrical scope.

You will be warmly overjoyed by the eleven new songs. You will amaze at the quality of the music found here. The start of The Night Siren with “Behind The Smoke” amply sets the stage. There is not one disappointment. In fact, the Hackett magic is in place but imbued with a current world sound as well.

The Deluxe Edition of The Night Siren provides the CD, and on a separate Blu-Ray disc, provides access to 5.1 Surround tracks as well as  Hi-res Stereo tracks. The 5.1 Surround is offered on DTS-HD Master Audio, and 48 kHz/24-bit LPCM. The Stereo is 48 kHz/24-bit LPCM. The Blu-ray disc also provides a video, “Somewhere In Darkest Teddington – The Recording of The Night Siren.”

The booklet is a 24-page, full-color collection of lyrics, artistic photo manipulations, and a complete page of album credits.

If you’re a Steve Hackett fan, The Night Siren will not disappoint. It belongs in your collection.

 

Review: Turbo 30 – Judas Priest (3CD Reissue)

Firmly cemented as one of the top-listed go-to bands where Heavy Metal is concerned, Judas Priest effortlessly moved from their mid ’70s recorded years with their debut, Rocka Rolla (1974), on up to the last album to feature Rob Halford before his departure. In between, their dominance of the widening genre was second to none. (This does NOT mean that the band faltered post-Halford, but it’s certainly nice to have him back!)

Their albums with Columbia Records were classics in every way beginning with Sin After Sin (1977). They gained greater success with singles that broadened their audience. And while their UK fan base was massive, generating hits after hits, their fan base in the US slowly grew wider. It was the band’s release of “Turbo Lover” that increased their worldwide success further. That song anchored their tenth studio set, Turbo.

On February 3rd, Columbia Records reissued Turbo in an ongoing re-release campaign. The reissue of Turbo (Turbo 30) is a 3CD super set that joyfully girds up the remastered original classic with 2CDs of a period-centric live set from their Turbo support tour. The complete show from their Kemper Arena (Kansas City) is enjoyed here with over 20 performance tracks. With the newly remastered Turbo original, the entire set becomes a begging entrance to any serious Judas Priest library.

Turbo 30 is housed in an eight-panel sturdy cardboard that reveals the band on cycles as you unfold the package. The three CDs are slipped into wallet-styled holders with a 12-page booklet in a pocket of its own. Judas Priest is shown in all their ’80s metal preeminence in the photos. The lyrics are included as well as a complete list of credits.

Turbo is classic Judas Priest.

For Judas Priest fans, it’s good to know that the band is currently working on their next album. After all, world Heavy Metal dominance isn’t just easily maintained; it has to be reinforced!

 

Review: Acoustic – Simple Minds

One of the better albums of 2016 (or at least one that deserves inclusion with a note that this is not an album of brand new originals) is Acoustic by Simple Minds. Simply, the collection is a newly recorded unplugged set of classic Simple Minds originals. And given the band that Simple Minds are, they have created a timeless and ultimately listenable album with easy replay value. In fact, this is not the first time I’ve listened to Acoustic. It may be around the 50th time!

Acoustic has twelve familiar songs including their breakout hit, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. What Acoustic has successfully done is to recreate those beloved songs from many original albums and make them new classics. Few artists can do this trick. For the record, there’s “Waterfront”, “New Gold Dreams”, “Sanctify Yourself”, “Chelsea Girl”, “Alive and Kicking” and others. Culling songs from as early as their first album (Life In A Day, 1979) with “Chelsea Girl”, and as late as their Real Life album from 1991 with “See The Light” (unless you want to count the non-album cover, “Long Black Train” as the latest, or the LP add of “Light Travels” from the band’s 2009 set, Graffiti Soul).

While most tracks are excellent, I’m a little less enamored of “See The Light”, a song version that feels too underpowered. However, I doubt there will be much complaining when you listen to the rest of the album. Songs like “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, “Waterfront”, “Someone, Somewhere in Summertime”, and the highly marketable “Promised You A Miracle” with KT Tunstall.

Acoustic is an album that can easily occupy your time like it has mine. And with so many classic SM songs unrepresented, I’m hoping for a second volume of Acoustic. One that will include “Book Of Brilliant Things”, “All The Things She Said”, “Belfast Child”, “She’s A River”, “Life In A Day”, “Let There Be Love”,  “Today I Died Again”, “Up On The Catwalk”, and a few others.  But…if you’re a vinyl fan, Simple Minds has thrown three bonus tracks onto the LP that do not appear on the CD edition of Acoustic.

Since the album’s release, it has done well on the European music charts. That’s a magnificent feat given the difficulties of anything hitting the charts. But it also speaks of the excellence that Acoustic is filled with.

Acoustic – Simple Minds (2016)

01 – The American (Sons and Fascination, 1981)
02 – Promised You A Miracle w/KT Tunstall (New Gold Dreams (81.82.83.84), 1982)
03 – Glittering Prize (New Gold Dreams (81.82.83.84), 1982)
04 – See The Lights (Real Life, 1991)
05 – New Gold Dreams (81.82.83.84) (New Gold Dreams (81.82.83.84), 1982)
06 – Someone, Somewhere In Summertime (New Gold Dreams (81.82.83.84), 1982)
07 – Waterfront (Sparkle In The Rain, 1984)
08 – Sanctify Yourself (Once Upon A Time, 1985)
09 – Chelsea Girl (Life In A Day, 1979)
10 – Alive And Kicking (Once Upon A Time, 1985)
11 – Don’t You (Forget About Me) (1985)
12 – Long Black Train (2016).

LP adds:

13 – Stand By Love (Real Life, 1991)
14 – Speed Your Love To Me (Sparkle In The Rain, 1984)
15 – Light Travels (Graffiti Soul, 2009)

 

Review: Blue & Lonesome – The Rolling Stones

stones-blue-lonesomeHonestly, just how often is it that a band of so many albums, so many songs, and so many years in the business of manufacturing Rock and Roll make one of the great Rock albums of the year of 2016? Not often I can tell you. But that’s just exactly what the Rolling Stones did with the release of their latest album, Blue & Lonesome. Personally, I had my doubts. I wasn’t overjoyed with their last album, A Bigger Bang. I’m not exactly thrilled with the prospect of seeing them live at this age. Call it a mortal fear of my own aging, I’m just glad I saw them at their peak during two separate periods, both before 1980. I refused to see them afterwards. For their albums, I’ve increasingly settled that I wouldn’t get a satisfactory album any more. But God bless ’em for trying. And if they tried, I’m gonna listen. After all, I STILL consider them the greatest Rock band of all time.

It only took one listen through of Blue & Lonesome to be awed. Recorded pretty much as a warm-up to an album of originals, the music felt much too energetic to them to ignore. And from the opening track of “Just Your Fool”, you’re sitting there with a stunned expression on your face. The Stones? You guys did this?

I find myself continually listening to this instant classic over and over. I LOVE “All Of Your Love”, a cover track of the Magic Sam gem. With the entire album a potent Stones-styled love letter to the Blues, there isn’t a single bad moment in the album. Mick Jagger is at top form. Keith and Ron are fiery guitarists, and Charlie’s drumming is at its best. Blues is the nuclear fuel that has almost always powered the reactor of The Stones. And with this new album, there’s no doubt (if you had any) that Blues is the bedrock of Rock and Roll. Not Punk. Not Pop. Not vocal-oriented music. The Blues. And it is never more excellent than hearing a bunch of old-school Rock stars understand it so deeply that their new offering is a time machine to the glory years of Rock.

If you’re a Stones fan, how can you not enjoy Blue & Lonesome? If the Grammys ignore this one, then they have proven themselves to be out of touch.

Buy with confidence! Blue & Lonesome is fiery!